Betterhelp Vs Teladoc: The Best Online Platform(A Complete Guide)
This article will compare the two online platforms, Betterhelp and Teladoc, so that the audience can decide which platform suits them and their needs the best. The article will explore the two platforms in many areas such as credibility, services, costs and features. Furthermore, the article will also introduce the two companies so the readers have a better understanding of the entire topic.
Betterhelp Vs Teladoc: The Best Online Platform
Both Betterhelp and Teladoc are online platforms that provide either mental health services only or mental and medical health related services as well. Betterhelp is primarily focused on mental health whereas the other online platform takes a more holistic approach and targets the entire embodiment of health. In this article, we will attempt to draw a clear comparison between the two platforms so that they audience can arrive to a conclusion with regards to which online platform suits them more.
The article will focus on the following areas to highlight differences between the two online platforms of Betterhelp and Teladoc:
- Modes of Interaction
- How To Sign Up
- HIPAA Compliant
- HSA, FSA & Insurance – Options?
Before we nose dive into each of these areas, the article will introduce the readers to both of these giants in the online world.
BetterHelp – Your Online Partner In Mental Health
Betterhelp is one of the largest online platforms that provides multiple services for all types of people who are suffering from mental health problems and require counseling. What is great about this service is that it is online hence it is available anywhere and every time. You do not have to go to the doctor’s office to get an appointment or wait in line for your turn. This is great if you feel pretty down and getting out of bed is a challenge for you!
With approximately 1700 licensed therapists available online at the click of a button, Betterhelp ensures that its clients receive the best help they can get by connecting them to professional therapists and counselors who know what they need to do This is apparent by the total number of sessions which Betterhelp has already conducted from their platform; a whopping 70 million sessions already completed! This is possible because the company understands the needs of clients well and hence provides therapy related services to them online and not just at physical location. In a world where things are changing constantly and the unknown is always around the corner, it is becoming more of a need rather than a desire to get services online and at your doorstep – we simply don’t have time nowadays!
Betterhelp was acquired by Teladoc in 2015 and is now owned by the giant online platform which we will introduce in a while!
When you visit their site, you will see that the company realizes the various situations you may be stuck in; you could be a child who needs help, a person in a relationship who feels they need to opt for couple therapy or an individual who is having a tough time facing their problems. The website also recognizes people who experience different feelings, thoughts and experiences compared to the vast majority of people; it does not judge a person based on how others are but how the person is themself! So don’t worry! You are in good hands at Betterhelp.
Teladoc – An Online Giant
It was founded in 2002 but launched in 2005 by Michael Gorton and Byron Brooks and is currently a multinational telemedicine and virtual company that is based in the United States. It has a number of services but generally these target health – physical and mental health. It has around 4000 service providers in all 50 states and because of its online nature you can receive treatment and assistance at any time during the day.
The company is huge – it has more than 12000 clients, 51.5 million members and operates in more than 175 countries with over 40 languages. It is also a very popular company whose app has more than 5 million downloads and 90% of members are happy with its services and policies.
The company has a wide range of services that include treatment and services for children, dermatology and even psychiatry. The company is actually a platform where licensed health professionals who are approved by their state’s board are available around the clock to help you or your loved ones deal with their problems and health concerns.The company is not only accessible through the website but has an android and iOS app! Their services are covered by insurance and hence many services are almost free. The company now also operates in Canada. It is important to mention that telemedical services are only provided in the US and Canada.
It has a number of ways that members can avail services and also a wide array of services they can choose from. We will explore all of these in the upcoming sections of the article!
Betterhelp Vs Teladoc: The Best Online Platform
In this section, we will look at all those areas where the two platforms can be considered.
Services – What Do They Offer?
When it comes to a company, the first question that pops up into one’s mind is what services do they offer. Starting with Betterhelp, we will outline and explain the services provided by both of the companies in this section.
Betterhelp – Your Online Therapist!
What services does Betterhelp offer? Let us take a look!
The company provides counseling to individuals as well where they can get services for a variety of disorders such as:
- Domestic Violence
- Eating Disorders
Each individual will be assigned a service provider based on their needs. The service provider will be from the area of requirement. This means that they can be someone who is a counselor for couples focusing on individuals only or a psychologist or psychiatrist.
The platform also provides counseling for couples who are facing issues in their relationship. They provide services that help the couple express their problems and work through them in a safe and constructive environment so that the problem is solved and not broadened. The counselor guides the couple so that they utilize their time and efforts in understanding the issues both of them go through and how they can reach a solution.
The platform also provides services for teenagers who are going through a variety of problems such as:
- School Problems
- Family Conflict
- Friends Issues
- Eating Disorders
- Trouble Sleeping
The platform may transfer you to their sister site which is known as Teencounseling and caters to teenagers between the ages of 13 to 19 years of age. The teenager must start out by filling a form that tries to gather as much information about them as it can so as to suggest a good therapist. The site also has the option where parents can use the interface on the behalf of the teenager.
Teladoc – A Multinational Service Provider
The company provides numerous services that cover a number of areas including children, dermatology, wellness and mental health. Here are the areas they provide services in:
- Everyday Care
- Children & Family
- Mental Health Services
- Medical Experts
- Wellness & Prevention
In this service, the online platform provides general consultation services to members where they are given services by a general physician for routine consultations. This service can be availed by the person themself for check up purposes or by a caretaker where a 2 or 3 way consultation service is provided. Here the caretaker can talk to the doctor with the patient to determine any solution to a problem being faced or for routine checkups.
On-demand appointments are available 24/7, and scheduled appointments are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time every day. The “Everyday Care” service should cost no more than $49 per visit in copay or $75 per visit if an eligible health plan does not cover you
A very popular service, the online platform Teladoc provides dermatology services where people can share pictures of their skin conditions and get the advice or treatment they need. This service is usually conducted through the medium of messages where members leave their questions along with any attachments – pictures of their condition – and wait for up to two days for the doctor to respond.
The dermatologist service costs up to $75 per visit as a copay or $99 per visit if not included in your health plan.
Children & Family
Parents or caretakers can take up this service for the children they have under their care and responsibility. Teladoc links you up with a pediatrician directly so you can share any concerns or questions you have with regards to your child’s health. This is an important service that many people avail for their children and end up asking many questions that are related to the child’s health and development.
The dermatologist service costs up to $75 per visit as a copay or $99 per visit if not included in your health plan.
Mental Health Services
These services are also provided virtually and include the following areas:
- Therapists: This service is available for members who need help generally with regards to their mental health. They may be dealing with problems such as insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression or everyday issues with regards to not being able to work properly or manage their tasks or routine. Appointments are available from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day and typically last 45 to 60 minutes. You can continue to see the same therapist throughout your treatment or change therapists if you prefer. These consultations cost $90 or less as a copay or $99 if not covered by your health plan.
- Psychiatrists: This is another service that the platform provides where members, if required, can be prescribed medicines by their psychiatrists if they deem it is needed. Although this is a service many other platforms do not provide due to issues such as the probability of a wrong diagnosis, the platform is restricted too and cannot provide medicines like antipsychotics. When covered by your health plan, consultations cost $229 or less for the first visit and $99 or less for subsequent visits. For patients without an eligible health plan, the first visit costs $229, and subsequent visits are $119.
- Mental Health Navigator: This is a very helpful service where members can receive the guidance they need as to what problems they are experiencing. What happens in this service is that a mental health professional reviews the members claims, their existing diagnosis or previous treatments and offers suggestions as to what type of help they may need. They may also refer to specific services as in the member may need cognitive therapy or even medication. Furthermore, the issue of, for example, anxiety may be arising due to an existing medical condition.
This is an interesting service where members can have their diagnosis or treatment plans rechecked by online service providers to ensure that their physicians in the real world have made the right claims with regards to their health.
In this case, the service provider will sit down with other medical health professionals and review all information presented to them that may include the member’s input, medical history, existing diagnosis and treatment suggestions, past treatments and other diseases or problems. If the medical professionals deem the diagnosis fit and treatment plan appropriate, they will encourage the member to go on with it.
However, in the case that they see a problem, they will make a change to the diagnosis and/or treatment plan. Teladoc claims that their medical experts modify 49% of diagnosis and 79% of treatment plans brought to their notice.
Wellness & Prevention
This service can only be accessed if you have insurance coverage and fall into four categories:
- Nutrition: This is a service where people can look for advice and guidance if they want to improve their nutrition and health generally. The dietician is a licensed professional who will not only guide you as to what a healthy diet is but also point out where you lack in terms of healthy eating. The dietician can also provide guidance with regards to specific issues or areas of interest such as high blood pressure, weight loss, low haemoglobin, prenatal nutrition. The dietician will provide a meal plan for you and also advice on how to shop for it.
- Back Care: A very common problem amongst many people, back pain is very uncomfortable and requires immediate attention. In this service, remote coaches who are certified provide advice and guidance on how to locate and deal with back pain. Also, they will provide instructions or videos on how to carry out certain routines or exercises.
- Sexual Health: In this option, patients can take general advice with regards to their sexual health and/or behaviour. They can also check for STD and will have to fill out a questionnaire. If they are asked, they can go to an identified lab where they require no appointment and get themselves tested. Teladoc will return their results within 3 working days and ensure full confidentiality.
- General Health Advice: You can read about many general topics on their blog such as healthy eating tips and what one can do for better health.
Costs – How Much Value?
This is an interesting section where we will learn exactly how much each platform charges for its services.
Betterhelp – Affordable Online Therapy
The services described above are offered at the following rates:
- Weekly Plan: It costs $80/week where you subscribe to their services for a week only and can avail whatever and how many sessions you need. In case you subscribe every week, you will have to pay $320 at the end of the month.
- Monthly Plan: It costs a total of $260 per month which breaks down to $60/week. The client is billed monthly as well – this is pretty straightforward
- Quarterly Plan: This plan costs a total of $540 but the weekly costs breaks down into $45 a week only because of the longer subscription availed by the client. At the end of the each month the client must pay $180
- Annual Plan: For clients who need long term services, they can pay $1820 which results in only $35 per week which is extremely cheap. At the end of each month the client is liable to pay $140 only which is the cheapest option.
Are you interested in their services? Sign up today!
For Teladoc, we have already referred to their costs in the previous section that discussed what services they offer to their members.
Modes of Interaction: How They Reach You?
This section of the article apprises the audience on how each platform reaches out to its clients and provides the services they need to them!
Betterhelp – Reaching Out In Every Manner
Apart from in person therapy sessions, Betterhelp provides clients a number of ways to reach out to their therapists such as:
- Chatrooms: These are open 24/7 and you can drop a message any time you feel like doing so. However, your counselor will only get back to you once they have the time or chance to. Usually people like dropping questions they want opinions on from their counselor and don’t mind waiting a bit.
- Live Chatting Sessions: here you can chat with your counselor in real time and there really is no limit on the number of messages exchanged or time spent talking here. It depends on the needs of the client and the nature of the problem.
- Live Phone Calls: Kind of like Skype this platform has their own system set up where you can have audio sessions with your service provider. It does not show your contact details to the counselor for reasons of privacy and in case the counselor and counselee become direct.
- Video Sessions: clients who are more comfortable or want a more personalized experience can also opt for video sessions. Like other mediums of interaction, there is no limit on these although people mostly hold the opinion that 1 or 2 sessions per week are sufficient.
Teladoc – Connecting To Clients
Teladoc usually provides two mediums through which the service providers reach out members who are in need of their services. Generally, all services are offered either through video sessions or audio calls such as those of back care, child services, mental health and mental health navigation.
However, there are some services for which messaging can be used and one of them is that of dermatology care. Here, due to the nature of the service, clients can message their service providers pictures of their skin condition and receive feedback through messages as well. Also, if required, video sessions can be scheduled.
Nonetheless, most of the interactions that take place on this platform are through video sessions and audio calls.
How To Sign Up – The Journey To Better Health Care.
How can you sign up with these platforms? It is simple and easy and that is what this section of the article is about to explain!
Betterhelp – How To Sign Up?
The process to sign up with Betterhelp involves 5 steps:
- Visit Website: Click here to visit their website! You need to inform them if you are opting for individual therapy, couple therapy or teen therapy.
- Intake Form: You will be required to fill out a questionnaire that has numerous questions pertaining to your health, income, counseling needs and preferences as well as mental health. This is important so that the algorithm can determine which counselor to match you with.
- Assignment: You will be assigned a counselor on the basis of your responses. The counselor will be someone from your state. However, if you are a client from overseas, you will be matched with a service provider who matches your needs and preferences.
- Payment Details: Betterhelp accepts payment through credit card or paypal and you will need to provide your real information here to sign up.
- Start Your Counseling: After the registration process you can start your sessions with your service provider immediately. You will have access to a wide range of services and options to avail these services through different mediums. We will discuss these in upcoming sections.
Think the registration process is easy? Why not sign up today and start your journey towards better mental health.
Teladoc – Making Things Easy
There are a number of steps you must take to sign up that have been listed below:
- Create Free Account: This can be done on the Teladoc app or webpage, add family members or dependents if appropriate, and complete the medical history form.
- Request to See Doctor: Submit a visit request and choose when you want to see a doctor. You can include details of your current issues and photographs that may help the doctor with diagnosis. You’ll also confirm your preferred pharmacy.
- Connect You With Doctor: Teladoc will connect you with the first available, suitable doctor licensed in your state. Apart from mental health services, it is not possible to request to see the same physician.
- Notification: You will be notified via the app or email when the appointment is coming up.
- The Session: The doctor will phone you from an unlisted number, so make sure your phone is not set to block these numbers. There is no time limit for the phone/video consultation.
- Review: The site will provide you with a summary of the session and any important details such as what medications you were prescribed.
- Teladoc can provide an Electronic Health Record to your physician if necessary and with your permission.
Are Betterhelp & Teladoc HIPAA Compliant?
Yes Betterhelp and Teladoc are HIPAA compliant and this is evident not only from their terms and conditions section on its website but also the multiple procedures they follow and the security systems put in place to protect your data.
What Is HIPAA?
It stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act which is US legislation intended to protect medical information through data privacy laws and security provisions. This is a very important law keeping in mind recent years when the emergence of cyber attacks and data hacking has become a frequent phenomena; such laws ensure that different entities take all precautions when it comes to protecting data.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule
It covers the national standard rules of individually identifiable health information with the aim of protecting patients personal health information. It requires all entities and their business associates that are covered by HIPAA to follow this rule. The privacy rule directs doctors to inform patients about which segments of their information will be shared with who for what purposes. At the same time, the rule gives patients the right to request for their protected health information (PHI).
What information is protected under the rule? Take a look:
A patient’s name, birth details, contact information, social security number and other personally identifiable information (PPI).
The past, present or future health condition of an individual.
Treatment details provided to the individual
Payment details of treatment that can be used to identify that person.
HSA, FSA & Insurance – Options?
Let us first take a look at Betterhelp and why they do not probably qualify for services such as HSA, FSA and do not accept insurance.
Do You Need Insurance For Betterhelp?
No you do not need insurance to avail service at Betterhelp. In many cases, when it comes to using the services of a certain company, you need insurance. This is not the case when it comes to Betterhelp and its online mental health services.
In fact, Betterhelp discourages the use of insurance for their services due to a number of reasons such as:
- Health insurance plans have partial or limited coverage so it really isn’t useful. Most of the time they do not fully cover the costs and one ends up doing much paperwork to get very little benefit. On top of that you need to finance the insurance as well somehow.
- In the case that your health insurance plan covers all costs of the services, the co-pay of insurance may be higher than the entire cost of Betterhelp’s services – this is due to the generally low cost services of Betterhelp due to it’s online nature and ease of accessibility for all. So, it is better not to avail insurance because you may end up paying way more to get the insurance compared to the actual costs of the services.
- Clients at Betterhelp may not be able to use insurance because insurance companies often require that the diagnosis of a patient and their future treatment plans are sent to them. However, at Betterhelp service providers are not allowed to diagnose patients for a number of reasons. The service providers are also not allowed to prescribe drugs. As said before, insurance companies require some sort of documentation or proof that a person is indeed eligible for insurance.
- Betterhelp emphasizes that their costs for services are very low hence it is not advisable to use insurance. This is what they prefer and they also offer financial aid on their website which can be used to decrease the costs of sessions from around $280 to as low as $216.
Teladoc – Making Telemental Health Accessible & Affordable
Yes Teladoc accepts insurance and also qualifies for HSA and FSA because of reasons where Betterhelp did not meet the standard or was of the opinion that their own financial system was more compatible with out of pocket costs rather than availing insurance.
We will take a quick look at what HSA and FSA is!
What Is HSA?
The Health Savings Account (HSA) is an initiative, pre-tax, that allows you to reduce the overall expenses associated with your health care costs. It allows you to save up pre tax money to pay for qualified medical services that may include dental and vision services as well. It is also expanding to cover female hygiene products too especially because of growing demand.
This account can be used to pay for deductibles, co pays, co insurance and other expenses but does not generally cover premiums. It also allows you to contribute to an HSA if you have a High Deductible Health Plan – nonetheless you can always use funds from an HSA to pay for your expenses.
This account also helps cover costs that are associated with long term services, medical drugs, weight loss programs and the such. Some programs or costs do not require any sort of documentation whereas others may require some sort of proof or documentation such as a letter of medical necessity.
What Is FSA – Flexible Spending Account
It is a healthcare pre-tax benefit which is used to pay for medical related costs such as the treatment itself or any costs incurred – costs that are not covered by other plans or insurance and are basically out of the pocket in nature. It helps you save your money and use it wisely in your priority areas.
It has many benefits. As a member, you can save upto an average of 30% on eligible health care expenses. You also gain access to the full amount if you apply for the FSAFEDS plan on the first day. Furthermore, through this same plan, if you don’t use all of your money you can carry over an estimated $550 to the next year – you don’t lose what you did not spend!
Let’s take a look at what is covered by the plan:
- Medical expenses such as co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles
- Dental expenses such as check-ups, exams, X – Rays and braces
- Eye related services such as vision check-up, glasses, laser eye surgery and contact lenses
- Professional services which include physical therapy, chiropractor and acupuncture
- Expenses to buy necessary drugs that have been prescribed as well as over the counter drugs too
- Health care items for daily use such as bandages, pregnancy kits and blood pressure monitors.
Many of Teledoc’s mental health services also qualify for cost coverage by the above two options making it affordable for many members.
This article provided an in depth review of the services provided by Teladoc and it’s acquired company Betterhelp that provide an array of services which included mental health. They compared both platforms on a number of areas and also highlighted various ways to cover associated costs.